Many people believe that first-responders and EMS can follow a person's living will or directions from their medical power of attorney, but that is not the case in a typical emergency outside the hospital.

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What is POLST?

The Illinois POLST form helps seriously ill and frail, older people get the medical treatments they want and avoid the medical treatments they do not want, if there is a serious medical emergency that makes speaking to healthcare professionals impossible.

What are the benefits of POLST for me or someone close to me?

POLST encourages people at high risk of a serious medical emergency to talk with a healthcare professional about what quality of life might be acceptable near the end of life. The conversation should include:

Should I discuss and consider completing
a POLST form?

After talking, the patient (or in some cases their substitute decision maker) and their healthcare professional may be able to make informed, shared decisions about what treatments the patient wants, or does not want, and put them on a POLST form.

Download the POLST Form

The POLST form is available in English and several other languages. To ensure emergency personnel can understand and follow the orders, it is recommended that the POLST form be documented, signed and displayed in English. The non-English versions of the form have BOTH the English and the non-English translation on a double-sided 2-page form. The non-English sides are for educational/discussion purposes only.

Planning for the Future

When a person has a serious illness or is older and frail, the future of their health can be uncertain. These patients can’t plan for everything that might happen, but they can share what is important to them with people who matter most in their lives. Most importantly, they can choose a substitute decision maker (also known as a healthcare agent, power of attorney for healthcare, or healthcare proxy).


For guidance on FEQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS about the POLST Model click here.